Over the course of my career, I’ve switched gears from being an individual contributor to a leader of individual sales reps. In my early rep days, there was nothing – truly nothing – sweeter than the rush that came with winning a deal; even more so was the win of a deal that I self-sourced through strategic methods. So when I moved to my leadership role, I faced one of the same challenges many new leaders do – how to obtain that rush when all the deals would belong to one’s reps, not themselves.
I quickly found that one of the easiest way to do so was to be of help to my reps – helping them open doors, uncover a hidden piece of information in the news that would spur a meeting, finding strategic ways to structure contacts, being of sound mind when a prospect was driving them crazy, you name it.
The most effective top-of-the-funnel way I am of help to my reps, however, is through social selling. I post quite a bit across all platforms and on a variety of diverse topics – everything from our own company initiatives to compelling articles about business.
I also make a habit of following or connecting with all the external players that touch our deals and ultimately become our clients. With all of this in mind, I try to be fairly well-connected, and encourage my reps to do the same!
Leverage your network for easy introductions to your toughest prospects.
A few years ago, I had the pleasure of adding a new member to my team – we’ll call him Peter. Within a few days of him joining, I asked, “What are two or three accounts that have proven impossible to open up?” We looked at the first one and went straight to LinkedIn to see who we could find. Within seconds, I found a gentleman with a perfect title, who was second connected to me, who we’ll call Dave. I asked Peter if he had tried to reach out to Dave before and here’s what happened:
Peter: Yes. For over two years. We have tried everything to get his attention. I have my SDR sending a campaign that seems to never end. I’ve sent him snail mail. I’ve invited him to sporting events. Nothing will work with this guy.
Me: Interesting, I’m second-connected to him. He knows my friend, Jill, who now lives in L.A. Let me text her and see if they know each other!
Me to Jill: Hey, any chance you know this guy Dave in Cincinnati?
Jill: Haha, are you stalking me? Why are you asking?
Me: Ha, not at the moment, no…why are you asking that? And I’m asking because he’s a key prospect for us within his organization and we could really use some help with an introduction.
Jill: Well, oddly enough, we were best buds growing up and I’m physically standing in his mother’s house right now. Let me call him and see if he’ll take a meeting.
Leaders should track top accounts for their reps and always be on the lookout for easy open doors.
Within a week, we had a response from Dave, who advised that he’d love to chat with us, but it’ll be a long road to entry and that he was about to leave for several weeks of paternity leave.
After two+ years of trying to get Dave’s attention, a simple social sell (referral sell) was what got us the meeting, and opened the door to an opportunity that is now 10x our average deal size.
As an incredible benefit back to the prospect, the use of our technology is something that is anticipated to change the entire company’s brand awareness. The icing on the cake is that Peter took note of the paternity leave, awaited the announcement of Dave’s out of office, and sent a box of baby necessities. That small move ensured that Dave connected with Peter as soon as he returned to the office, and it also set Peter apart from every other rep that was vying for Dave’s business.
Social selling is the simplest method of opening doors into new accounts. Tapping into your networks should be one of the very first steps you take to crack a new deal. Imagine what could have been had Peter leveraged me two years ago!